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The Breakfast Challenge

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Fun:*** (2.95)
Difficulty:** (1.49)
Submitted By:im_para_noid


You are enjoying your breakfast after having put some salt on your scrambled eggs when your nerdy brother presents you with an ice cube floating in a glass of water and a short length of string. He challenges you to remove the ice cube from the glass using the string without tying any knots. What strategy do you use to remove the ice cube from the water glass?

Show Hint


Take the string and soak it in the water. Let the string rest across the ice cube. Reach across the table and get the salt that you used on your eggs; pour the salt over the string and the ice cube. The salt causes the ice to melt. However, when you stop pouring the salt, the water that formed on the top of the cube will refreeze with the string embedded in it. Now you can lift the ice cube with the string.

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Posted by Ember on Oct 23, 2002

very nice. I had everything but the salt part

Posted by adamant545 on Oct 24, 2002


Posted by mastervivi131 on Nov 16, 2002

You could always hold the string taut and knock over the glass, but that's not very scientific. Good teaser!

Posted by the_smart_one on Nov 23, 2002

That was kinda easy since I love doing that. I knocked over my salt once over my glass filled with ice cubes, so that's how I knew this.

Posted by melrfaz on Nov 25, 2002

why cant it be a nerdy sister?

Posted by Palsha on Nov 26, 2002

I thought you could only use the string to get it out? Otherwise, you could have used lots more ways to get it out

Posted by doggyxp on Dec 16, 2002

really easy, but good. I already knew this trick. it's in most science experiment books.

Posted by megan on Dec 21, 2002

If you had to use the string only, ie. no salt, just place the string in the water, freeze the whole thing, then you can take the ice cube out.

Posted by im_para_noid on Dec 21, 2002

yes, that might work, except how would you be able to freeze it if all you had was the string. No freezer, no snow no nothing except for the string.

Posted by doggyxp on Dec 22, 2002

i learned that in kindergarten. oh well, you can please somebody all of the time, but you can't please verybody all of the time. something like that.

Posted by Gmoney-Gdog on Dec 22, 2002

palsha, after u found out the answer, u could have looked at the hint, like i did. it said that u can use elements at your disposal other than the string, so u dont only have 2 use the string. gr8 1 para 8^)

Posted by scharfy on Jan 12, 2003

ok, but why would you want to put some salt on your scrambled eggs i just put ketchup lots o ketchup

Posted by scharfy on Jan 12, 2003

ok, but why would you want to put some salt on your scrambled eggs i just put ketchup lots o ketchup

Posted by jellybean on Jan 31, 2003

I woulda drunk the water, put the string around the ice cube n scooped it out but then thats just me.. grate teaser im_para_noid

Posted by heather777 on Jun 07, 2003

I could swear that was on as told by ginger when my sister was watching it I saw that part

Posted by gerr2thegerr406 on Nov 16, 2003

There is another answer but it is kinda disgusting......I like this answer better was pretty interesting.......

Posted by yaya on Nov 17, 2003

I learned this one when I was just a pup.

Posted by Golfman072 on Jan 03, 2004

Omeletes rules scrambled eggs drool.

Posted by Poker on Aug 10, 2004

I think this was all just a plot to give you a salty drink.

Posted by I_am_the_Omega on Nov 16, 2004

Hehe.. i didn't even think about the salt. My idea was to heat the cup, so the ice started to melt... then put the string on it, and put it in the refrigerator, so the ice formed over the string, and then pull it out ^_^

Either that, or use the force..

Posted by pianofox on Nov 16, 2004

I have heard that a lot so it was sper easy to me.

Posted by Tiggr on Nov 16, 2004

I'm sort of a science dork when it comes to certain things so, after about 10 seconds of thought...I got the answer. By the way...good one

Posted by passion on Nov 16, 2004

this was a good one i knew it had something to do with the salt, after i read the hint, but i thought that the salt might get the string to stick on the ice cube. {not very intellegent, i know}

Posted by StepIntoNoWhere on Nov 16, 2004

I didn't really like this one.. it was kinda good.. to logical though.. good job anyways!!

Posted by kittykat6792 on Nov 22, 2004

This is a good one! I enjoyed it and I think that it will help children that are in school. Keep up the good work!

Posted by username on Jun 16, 2005

oh...that is really cool and interesting. i'll really have to try that sometime.
great teaser!!

Posted by Bryko614 on Jun 18, 2005

nice and easy

Posted by RoboCop on Jun 26, 2005

great teaser hope some more come in

Posted by marching_xc on Jul 06, 2005

Why is the brother nerdy? THat's mean... But anyways that's clever, I should try it some time.

Posted by shenqiang on Sep 25, 2005

good idea

Posted by Spark on Nov 16, 2005

good teaser i really enjoyed it

Posted by Samrat on Nov 16, 2005

This was very easy. Its also quite an old trick.
Neways keep more of these coming

Posted by katzmeow on Nov 16, 2005

Wow, I had never heard this one before, and I got it! Yay me, LOL!
I really enjoyed this one. Keep up the good work!

Posted by redraptor50 on Nov 16, 2005

Great one! As soon as I read it again and saw "salt" I knew the answer, only because this is the way I thaw out frozen meat! Keep these coming

Posted by bluehawk on Nov 16, 2005

This was a good one Im para noid, very easy. The string and salt was a dead giveaway, it's something one would learn in K'garten . I enjoyed this one too much . great job Para noid. Keep them coming.

Posted by bluehawk on Nov 16, 2005

p.s. does it matter who the nerdy sibling was??????????? I think not!!!!!!! Get a life, no need to pick apart everything here in "BRAINGLE". Remember it' s just for 'Fun"!!!!!!!!!
It's a entertaining "SITE" . Lets not forget that!!!!!!!!,

Posted by Brainy_1 on Nov 16, 2005

I was going to use my fork that I was eating my eggs with or drink the water and dump the ice on the string! But, I'm just that way! Good science brain buster! Now, I'm hungry!

Posted by Splatt on Nov 16, 2005

Ooh, the fork. I never thought of that...

Actually, the rules were not rigid enough and the short string's length was not defined. I would just have made an ice hammock with my string, gathered both ends and lifted it out.

But all the different answers are fun. And why is it mean to say nerdy brother? I think nerds are cool and in fact, I prefer dating them to those... OTHER kinds of people.

Posted by bennyraw on Nov 16, 2005

I just streched the string out and knocked the galss over.

Posted by lindquist_25 on Nov 16, 2005

LAME!!! Who doesn't know how to do that?

Posted by cassiemark on Nov 16, 2005

I liked it! I did that in 3rd grade for a science presentation. Very cool!

Posted by Krypton on Nov 16, 2005

Nothing in the challenge says you can't spill any water. Take the string, loop it around the glass and pull the glass over. It's a lot faster than waiting for the salt to work its magic.

Posted by kman613 on Nov 16, 2005

I'm a science nerd, so this was easy. But I love these types of trivia...

Posted by amyu05 on Nov 16, 2005

I'm all for using the force too!!! But thats just me and my oppinion!!! I like it, it was fun!!! My plan was confusing, long and drawnout!!! But mine also involved dumping the glass of water over the nerdy brother !!! Snaps for you!!!

Posted by lorelle_b on Nov 16, 2005

haha...lemee guess you have a little brother and he asked you to do this? good challenge, however! i knew it had something to do with the salt, but i'm no scientist

Posted by estatemgr on Nov 16, 2005

I did not find this one very entertaining, maybe it's too early in the morning for science. But, I give you thumbs up for adding the nerd. I love nerds! (In fact I married one!)

Posted by mischievousmiss on Nov 16, 2005

Maybe I'm just new to all of this, but I thought it was a good one. Made me think!!

Posted by choptlivva on Nov 16, 2005

Why not just dump all the salt in the water and wait for the ice to melt!!!! You can wrap the string around your finger (no knots!) to remind you to check back and see if the ice is melted!!

This one was actually pretty easy ... but since so few parameters were given, it was fun to see all the "other" ways people came up with!!

Posted by beethovenswig on Nov 16, 2005

easy but fun

Posted by Lady_Lani on Nov 16, 2005

Great teaser. I also got this one, but it was still fun because it got me to think. Terrific job.

Posted by Chaney34 on Nov 16, 2005

What about just using two fingers? This was stupid

Posted by srichardson1066 on Nov 16, 2005

I liked it. I paid no attention in science class so the answer eluded me, although I knew it had something to do with the salt. Well done.

Posted by formation007 on Nov 16, 2005

Very nice teaser. Although i never got it, it was obvious that it had something to do with the salt. Oh and there is nothing in the question preventing me from directly taking the ice cube out with my hand. Since it is obvious you can not do that, it was a very good teaser and was a very informative and interesting fact. I certaily will be trying that tomorrow morning.

Posted by rkaaland on Nov 16, 2005

Didn't quite think in that way but it definatly would work!

Posted by rookie on Nov 16, 2005

Why can't we use the string to tip the cup over?

Posted by mrtickles on Nov 16, 2005


Posted by realm2346 on Nov 16, 2005

At first, I thought "{just pull it out with string", but i knew about the salt trick too.

Posted by realm2346 on Nov 16, 2005

At first, I thought "{just pull it out with string", but i knew about the salt trick too.

Posted by realm2346 on Nov 16, 2005

At first, I thought "{just pull it out with string", but i knew about the salt trick too.

Posted by leroy_h on Nov 16, 2005

it was too hard for me. although i knew salt had something to do with it.

Posted by wizkid on Nov 16, 2005

I totally got this one. Great teaser.

Posted by rootsradical23 on Nov 16, 2005

nice and easy just the way i like 'em!!

Posted by TheEarthling on Nov 16, 2005

Relatively easy, but it was a fun teaser anyway.

Posted by shawneeo on Nov 16, 2005

This was pretty easy for me, because I had heard of this and done it, although, it doesn't always work the way you want it too, sometimes the icecube doesn't stick long enough. If you can use other things that should be in the main body of the teaser, not in the hint, which is only read if you think you need it. Thanks, that was nice, I always appreciate these and those who write them. Some of you have been very mean and harsh in your comments about these teasers, STOP THAT! This is a family site and the teaser are written by members; it's mean and "little" to put people's efforts down so harshly. Thanks, I am paranoid!

Posted by POPS on Nov 16, 2005

SHOuld have got it BUT you got me I thought it had something to do with the salt but could not figure it out??????

Posted by eabreu92 on Nov 16, 2005

i thought that one would have to reach in and grab the ice OR drink the water....oh well...

Posted by sln03 on Nov 16, 2005

I was thinking "pour out the water...duh!" Since it was a teaser, I thought it would have a dumb answer. That was way too scientific for an idiot like me!

Posted by mormangirl on Nov 16, 2005

why cant you just put your hand in the glass and pull out the ice cube and the string in your hand

Posted by spoiled_rotten on Nov 16, 2005

i wouldn't have used the string at all. my fork would work just as well.

Posted by monkey93 on Nov 16, 2005

I like this one. I kinda knew how it worked though.

Posted by southerngirl13 on Nov 16, 2005

ok, 1st of all, since when are nerds cool? 2nd of all, I'm with the dude who said just reach in and grab it! I mean really! you ppl like to complicate things, don't you?

Posted by randomind223 on Nov 16, 2005

wow i got that right even without the hint!!!

Posted by southerngirl13 on Nov 16, 2005

i knew it had something to do with the salt (that other comment was a joke if you didn't already get that) but I couldn't tell what! LOL

Posted by southerngirl13 on Nov 16, 2005

hey.... anybody? how do you submit a teaser? I have one but I can't do anything with it...

totally wondering

Posted by on Nov 16, 2005

Why not fish the ice cube out using the fork that you were eating your eggs with?

Posted by meme2559 on Nov 16, 2005

hey this would be a cool science fare project!

Posted by moimeme on Nov 17, 2005

COOL! So many other commenters must have had really good science teachers.I had no idea about the salt. I thought of drinking the water, then using the string as a loop with a twist not a knot. Love the fork suggestion, with the string,almost unnecessary, holding cube on.

Posted by Radhika on Nov 17, 2005

This was amazing. I guessed about the melting of the ice cube but u got me there with the method. I was even wondering that the salt might have a part in that but could not figure it out!!!On the whole I loved the teaser!!!!

Posted by Fame_Kraze on Nov 17, 2005

ez ez ez ez ez
just kidding
tooooooo ez

Posted by Fame_Kraze on Nov 17, 2005

u should know i'm not trying 2 b rude i'm just sayin what i think

Posted by asia91 on Nov 17, 2005

SUX 2 the fullest potential!!! ppl plz come up with something challenging yet funny ok!!!


Posted by DaddyDublin16 on Nov 19, 2005

It really works!!! I had to try it after i read this!!! It WORKS!!!

Posted by litt1eME on Nov 27, 2005

good and easy.

Posted by hottiegurl99 on Feb 18, 2006

i got it, it was funny

Posted by Jerrythellama on May 20, 2006

I was thinking let the ice melt, then soak up the water little by little and squeeze the water out. It would work too =D.

Posted by OldChinaHand on Nov 17, 2006

Ah, the old wet string and salt on the ice cube trick. Good one. Nice to see it again. Thanks.

Posted by cloughme on Nov 17, 2006

Cool!!! Did it in Jr High Science class.

Posted by lmurray on Nov 17, 2006




Posted by kistin14 on Nov 17, 2006

Very easy. But fun!

Posted by coachpisco on Nov 17, 2006

In this case (I can't believe it) I agree with Imurray

Posted by aranara89 on Nov 17, 2006

I'm sorry but I have seen that riddle a million times. Not very original.

Posted by schmedley9 on Nov 17, 2006

I have already seen this one. Sorry bout that.


Posted by puttumup on Nov 17, 2006

that was fun. to easy tho

Posted by tpkarth on Nov 17, 2006

Interesting.. for someone like me who forgot most of the science we learned at middle school...

Posted by nu_rob_roy on Nov 17, 2006

Most interesting, someone with 'zero' teasers telling someone with over 75 approved teasers what make a good teaser. Makes one wonder...

Teasers are for all levels, young and old alike, what's old and easy for one maybe new and challenging for others. It useful to look beyond one own nose from time to time, if one is able; pity if one can't.

I liked this one. I'll use it and share with my kids. Thanks.

Posted by Pizzazz2u on Nov 17, 2006

Some of these teasers ARE getting to be quite too easy.... and here I thought this site would tickle our minds. This teaser is just 2nd hand knowledge, to me. My apologies for sounding harsh, but my goodness!1

Posted by Ginnykay on Nov 17, 2006

I remember this one from the way back never,never.

Posted by asupmdr on Nov 17, 2006

This is a repeat from quite some time ago.

Posted by scallio on Nov 17, 2006

I knew the answer immediately, but I still loved it! I enjoyed the fun story and reading it reminded me that I could do this experiment with my kids. They'll love it!

Posted by PWT227 on Nov 17, 2006

Easy, simple science.

Posted by ciotog on Nov 17, 2006

Entirely too contrived - if you can use other elements at your disposal, then you can do just about anything.

I don't really like teasers that try to present interesting science in "teaser" form when the science doesn't readily conform.

Posted by ragdol13 on Nov 17, 2006

yeah because we all didn't learn that in second grade.....

Posted by Blondie116 on Nov 17, 2006

Loved it!

Posted by locutus13ds on Nov 17, 2006

I seemed to remeber salt lowering the freezing point of water... so I knew it had to do with that.. good job

Posted by balrog on Nov 17, 2006

Why wouldn't you just make a loop with the string and tip over the glass and the ice cube comes out. No stipulations were made on how to use the string or even if we needed to keep the water in the glass.

Posted by Punk_Rocker on Nov 17, 2006

There doesn't need to be a semicolon in the teaser's answer; it doesn't fit. Just making you aware of that.

Posted by katie4 on Nov 17, 2006

just gotta love em

Posted by jabdr on Nov 17, 2006

My, my. I'm surprised to read the comments from some normally rational, kindly users. It's a teaser guys! Not rocket science! Perhaps we should have a category called "mid-school science' then we can all enjoy and applaud a submitted and accepted teaser. (something I haven't tried)
I liked it Mikey..I really liked it )

Posted by ngalvin on Nov 17, 2006

So many of these comments make you sound like elitist snobs!
chill out and enjoy the fact that there is something for everyone.

Posted by bradon182001 on Nov 17, 2006

First time I've seen this teaser, but I did figure it out kinda.

Posted by Musikman212 on Nov 17, 2006

I'm afraid I have to agree with lmurry too.

Posted by choptlivva on Nov 17, 2006

This is more a question than a comment.... with more than 10,000 teasers on this site (according to the blurb), why IS it necessary to use an old one for the "Daily Teaser"? Just curious if any of the eds have an answer....

Irregardless tho..... I find the rude comments unnecessary. If it bores you because you've seen it before..... then go to the next one.

Posted by wordmama on Nov 17, 2006

I am totally NOT a science person. I don't understand why the water would refreeze after melting; there is no mention of using the freezer.

btw I AM a language person, and the semicolon is A-OK as used in the answer.

Posted by lindquist_25 on Nov 18, 2006

Really, how has someone not heard of that before?!

Posted by natureluver on Nov 18, 2006

I've heard of that. Sorry. It's pretty famous.

Posted by blondebookworm on Nov 18, 2006

cool teaser, but the salted eggs gave it away.

Posted by vlerma on Nov 22, 2006

I too learned this a long time ago, but thank you for reminding me of fun with grandchildren.

Posted by Qrystal on Dec 14, 2006

Hehe @ elitist snobs. You folks are hilarious, but please note I laugh at you not with you. HA HA!

I knew this one really quickly too, from my experience as a nerdy science kid, so I cheerfully rated it as "easy" -- that's what that option is for, right?

NERDS RULE! (Sometimes with a slide rule.)

Posted by CatsAreCute on Feb 28, 2008

This is too easy, I learned this in Preschool!
How is calling someone a nerd an insult, I take it as a compliment!

Posted by gargph on Nov 17, 2009

Well now I feel stupid xD Never knew this, and I'm in a gifted class?!?!?!

Posted by leroyleroy on Nov 17, 2009


Posted by doehead on Nov 17, 2009

Abe Lincoln and I learned this in 1st grade. Our teacher was Martha Washington.

Posted by doehead on Nov 17, 2009

I forgot to mention that SHANNMO has become the love of my life!!!!!!

Posted by shannmo on Nov 17, 2009

i love ewe too

Posted by auntiesis on Nov 17, 2009

I guess I must have heard this one before, because the answer poped right into my head. Very cute, especially for the kids. Thanks.

Posted by Jake10 on Nov 17, 2009

Ive done that before.

Posted by hubbamutt777 on Nov 18, 2009

Megan, i thought the same thing, just put the string partway below the water, then freeze the whole thing and pull the whole chunk of ice out. great teaser.


Posted by Babe on Nov 17, 2012

That one is an oldie!

Posted by jaycr on Nov 17, 2012

Imurrray and doehead have assaulted this one before.

Posted by HABS2933 on Nov 17, 2012

This teaser is old, both the teaser itself and its appearance on Braingle, the comments go back more than 10 years. To borrow a line from Doehead AROB! I implore whomever is responsible for choosing the "Teaser of the Day" please pick among some of the more recently submitted material.

Posted by cutebug on Nov 17, 2012

Happy 11th birthday to this extremely easy teaser. Nice play of words jaycr And habs nailed it also.

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